Paralegal

A paralegal, or legal assistant, has pursued paralegal studies and acquired the necessary certification or degree to perform legal work as assigned to them by an attorney. Paralegals are an integral part of the legal system. They can perform many of the legal support tasks attorneys can, but at lower cost.

Paralegal Studies Associate Degree Program (AOS)

The AOS degree program’s objective is to prepare you for a position as a paralegal/legal assistant. The course includes core law theory classes, a specialized terminology class, specialized legal classes, practical skills and an internship program. You must successfully complete a minimum of 60 credit hours with a grade point average of at least 2.0 to graduate.

The program will prepare you to perform specific task in your paralegal career, such as:

  • Locating and interviewing witnesses.
  • Maintaining contact with clients and conducting client interviews.
  • Helping attorneys conduct research for specific cases.
  • Drafting legal documents, pleadings and correspondence.
  • Summarizing interrogatories, testimony and depositions.
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Starting a Paralegal Career: The Beginner’s Guide

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Course Requirements

General Education

21 credits total, 3 credits per class

  • ER 200 College English
  • ER 201 College English II
  • ER 205 Oral and Written Communications
  • MT 200 College Mathematics
  • PS 100 Psychology
  • GO 100 US Government
  • TCT 309 Computer Concepts
Professional Education

36 credits total, 3 credits per class

  • IN 100 Legal Internship
  • LS 100 Introduction to Law
  • LS 101 Legal Research and Writing
  • LS 102 Civil Litigation
  • LS 106 Real Estate Law
  • LS 105 Family Law
  • LS 109 Preparation of Legal Documents
  • LS 111 Tort Law
  • LS 112 Contract Law
  • LS 115 Law Office Management/Accounting
  • LS 201 Advanced Legal Research and Writing
  • PD 101 Professional Development
Electives

3 credits total , 3 credits per class

  • LR 300 Legal Terminology
  • LS 103 Criminal Law
  • LS 104 Wills, Trusts, and Estates
  • LS 107 Corporations
  • LS 108 Employment Law
  • LS 110 Administrative Agency Law
  • LS 113 Immigration Law
  • LS 114 Bankruptcy Law
  • LS 116 Elder Law

Paralegal Studies Certificate Program

The Paralegal Office Assistant Certificate Program is designed to prepare you for an entry-level position in a general business environment. The emphasis is on understanding the special needs of the legal profession and on developing essential professional skills. You must successfully complete a minimum of 30 credit hours with a grade point average of at least 2.0 to graduate.

Course Requirements

Core Courses

27 credits total, 3 credits per class

  • ER 200 College English
  • ER 201 College English II
  • ER 205 Oral and Written Communications
  • LS 100 Introduction to Law
  • LS 101 Legal Research and Writing
  • LS 115 Law Office Management/Accounting
  • LS 201 Advanced Legal Research and Writing
  • PD 101 Professional Development
  • TCT 309 Computer Concepts
Professional Electives

3 credits total, 3 credits per class

  • LS 102 Civil Litigation
  • LS 103 Criminal Law
  • LS 104 Wills, Trusts, and Estates
  • LS 105 Family Law
  • LS 107 Corporations
  • LS 108 Employment Law
  • LS 109 Preparation of Legal Documents
  • LS 110 Administrative Agency Law
  • LS 111 Tort Law
  • LS 112 Contract Law
  • LS 113 Immigration Law
  • LS 114 Bankruptcy Law
  • LS 116 Elder Law
  • LR 300 Legal Terminology
  • TCT 202 Microsoft Word
  • TCT 304 Microsoft Excel
  • IN 100 Internship

Career Opportunities

The demand for paralegals is growing, with approximately 272,000 paralegals nationwide (Occupational Employment and Wages, 23-2011 Paralegals and Legal Assistants, 2014).
The average salary for the position of Paralegal I is $49,098 (Paralegal I Salaries, 2015).

The Department Of Labor’s Occupational Outlook (Job Outlook, 2012) predicts that the paralegal profession will grow 17% between the years of 2012 and 2022, faster than average among all occupations.

Examples of paralegal career opportunities available include:

  • Small law firm: This is usually an entry-level position and may last for up to two years.
  • Large law firm: This position comes with greater responsibility, salary and opportunity for advancement. There may also be medical benefits and continuing education assistance offered.
  • Corporate level/public legal service: Corporate or public paralegals help attorneys draft employee contracts and benefit plans, stock option plans, shareholder agreements and annual financial reports and other tasks of significant responsibility.
  • Independent contractor: Paralegals in this position work for themselves and offer their services as independent contractors to attorneys or corporations for a specific period of time and pay rate.

We’re surrounded by opportunity.